Ciguatera fish poisoning (or ciguatera) is an illness caused by eating fish that contain toxins produced by a marine microalgae called Gambierdiscus toxicus.
How does ciguatera poisoning occur?
Ciguatera Fish Poisoning is the most common seafood illness reported in travellers. It is caused by eating fish contaminated with ciguatoxins which are produced by dinoflagellates – small marine organisms living on or near coral reefs – belonging to the species Gambierdiscus toxicus.
What type of fish is associated with ciguatera poisoning?
Ciguatera is most commonly caused by eating barracuda, moray eel, grouper, amberjack, sea bass, sturgeon, parrot fish, surgeonfish, and red snapper , or fish that are high on the food chain.
What is ciguatera toxin commonly found in?
Ciguatera is a type of food poisoning. The ciguatera toxin may be found in large reef fish, most commonly barracuda, grouper, red snapper, eel, amberjack, sea bass, and Spanish mackerel.
How long does ciguatera poisoning last?
The diarrhea may last for up to four days. Some symptoms typically remain for a few weeks to months. Heart difficulties such as slow heart rate and low blood pressure may also occur. The specific toxins involved are ciguatoxin and maitotoxin.
Is ciguatera poisoning permanent?
The acute symptoms of ciguatera fish poisoning generally disappear within a few days. However, neurological symptoms may continue for several months.
How can ciguatera poisoning be prevented?
Travelers can take the following precautions to prevent ciguatera fish poisoning:
- Avoid or limit consumption of reef fish.
- Never eat high-risk fish such as barracuda or moray eel.
- Avoid eating the parts of the fish that concentrate ciguatera toxin: liver, intestines, roe, and head.
What are the signs of food poisoning from fish?
What are the symptoms of ciguatera poisoning?
- Watery diarrhea.
- Numbness and tingling about the mouth and extremities.
What body system does ciguatera toxin directly affect?
Ciguatera toxin acts on sodium channels in cell membranes, inducing membrane depolarization in nerve cells and striated muscle. The predominant symptoms come from the peripheral nervous system and can last for many months. Rare fatalities have been reported from respiratory paralysis.
What is scombroid fish poisoning?
Scombroid fish poisoning, or histamine fish poisoning, is a syndrome resembling an allergic reaction that occurs after eating fish contaminated with high levels of histamine.
How do I get rid of ciguatera?
No definitive medical treatment exists for the long-lasting neurological symptoms of ciguatera. There are reports that some patients find relief in avoiding fish, seafood, alcohol, nuts, and nut oils, though it sounds like limiting your diet isn’t doing the trick.
Why should you not eat barracuda?
So why don’t more people eat barracuda? … Eating ‘cudas more than about 3.5 feet long isn’t advised because they can accumulate a naturally occurring toxin called “ciguatera.” Basically, ‘cudas and other large predators eat smaller fish that graze algae off the reefs.
Is ciguatera curable?
There is no specific cure for ciguatera fish poisoning, but symptoms can be treated until the illness resolves on its own. Most poisoning resolves in a few days or weeks, but in severe cases the neurologic symptoms may last for weeks or months.
Can you tell if a fish has ciguatera?
Ciguatera Fish Poisoning (Toxin) Symptoms
Symptoms generally begin 6 to 8 hours after eating the contaminated fish but can occur as early as 2 or as late as 24 hours after ingestion. Symptoms include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, muscle pain, numbness, tingling, abdominal pain, dizziness, and vertigo.
What happens if you eat old fish?
Neither refrigeration nor cooking can prevent scombroid. Symptoms occur rapidly, usually within an hour of eating spoiled fish, and typically include flushing, itching, rash, headache, rapid or irregular heartbeat, dizziness, sweating, burning of the mouth and throat, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and abdominal cramps.